Type in "Strasburg" in google right now and the news for the name pops out three articles.
#1 "Arroyo outpitches Strasburg, D-Backs top Nationals"
#2 "Strasburg good, Arroyo better in Nationals' loss"
#3 "Stephen Strasburg makes two key mistakes in Nationals ..."
Guess which one is from the local paper?
Looking from the outside-in Strasburg is a successful very good pitcher. He's capable of having special nights and there is still a bit of an aura around him, thanks to the fact he still strikes people out and his peripheral stats look good, but it's not news if he gives up 3 runs.
Looking from the inside-out Strasburg is a failed great pitcher. The special nights only highlight the kind of pitcher he has the talent to be, and giving up 3 runs is just another outing that shows he's not living up to that potential.
Unfair? Completely and not at all.
It's completely unfair in the sense that he is being compared to a standard that is near impossible to reach. Set the bar that high and he's set up to disappoint.
It's not at all unfair because this is baseball and this is the scrutiny talented players have to go through. That "the feelings of the fans should match in direction and intensity the production output a player brings to the team" is not something in a contract.
If the Nats were 4 games up as of today, it probably wouldn't matter. If the Nats had made the WS last year, it probably wouldn't matter.
Neither of those things happened.
The Nats fans are on the cusp of desperation. Failure to make the playoffs this season would likely start an implosion of sorts, fair or not. The anger is going to be directed at anyone not matching where fans think they should be; where they were told these guys should be.
Strasburg should be a Top 5 pitcher. Bryce should be a Top 5 player. They are the biggest targets and if they don't come close to those levels, they will receive the biggest share of criticism if/when the Nats fail. Werth (biggest contract. most in your face) is out on that limb. Fister (savior-esque 4th starter) could hear it. So will anyone that outright crashes and burns. (why is my head involuntarily turning toward Denard Span?). It's not fair and it is.
Don't confuse how the game works with how fandom works. Strasburg is very good. He'll get paid very well for being very good. That's how the game works. Strasburg is not great. He'll get criticized for not being great because that was the expectation set for his time with this franchise. That's how fandom works (for some-most).
Outside a few idiot wackos who might scream "TRADE HIM!!! SHOULD HAVE KEPT LOMBO INSTEAD!!" the Strasburg debate is one of at what level a "could be great" player deserves what type criticism. Does he deserve to be called out whenever he fails to put up a certain level of great performances? Or is it when he stops being a really helpful productive team member?
It's not a debate about Strasburg's actual performance, he is what he is, it's a debate about how to respond to it. From the outside, where expectations for Strasburg are much more tempered by a history of failed pitching prospects and his near immediate TJ injury, the view is more consistent and lenient*. From the inside, where expectations are rarely managed as well (SKOLE IS GOING TO TAKE OVER FOR LAROCHE!!!), the view are all over the place. But saying someone is wrong for getting on Strasburg** (or not) is like saying someone is "not a true fan". There isn't a right time to be disappointed.
*Bryce though did not have expecations managed on any level. Which is why you see wildly different takes on him all over the place.
** Now someone can be wrong for saying he stinks, but don't confuse an outburst with an outlook. If someone really thinks Strasburg is bad, he's wrong. If he screams for a minute because he gave up an ill-timedHR, he's just angry.